The Amherst men’s tennis team continued its season-long dominance, posting a perfect record against four opponents to stretch the team’s win streak to five games.
Coming off a win over Division I foe Bryant, the Mammoths’ strong play carried over to both matches of last Friday’s doubleheader. Given that both matches were away, Coach Todd Doebler elected to send his stronger team to Cambridge, Mass., to take on the 22nd-ranked Massachusetts Institute of Technology, while Amherst’s second squad faced off against NESCAC foe Connecticut College later in the evening.
The matchup between the Engineers and the Mammoths proved to be the more riveting of the two, with Amherst emerging victorious with a hard-fought 6-3 win.
In doubles action, the Mammoths’ pairings faced stern challenges, taking only two of the three points available. On court one, the duo of Zach Bessette ’19 and Jayson Fung ’20 was pushed to a tiebreaker, winning by the slimmest of margins, 9-7.
On the second court, the all-first-year team of Josh Marchalik and Oscar Burney eked out a slightly more comfortable 8-5 victory, while the third court saw MIT rout the Mammoths’ pair of Jesse Levitin ’19 and Nathan Kaplan ’20 8-2.
The singles courts proved just as challenging for Amherst. Although the Mammoths took four of the six points, not a single match was a blowout. Indeed, the shortest match of the afternoon was a 6-1, 6-4 victory for MIT’s Victor Cheng over Fung on court three, which tied the overall score at 2-2.
The Mammoths responded well, however, with Levitin and Kaplan posting two-set wins on courts five and six, respectively.
The remaining three courts all required a third set to decide the affair’s overall victor, with Amherst needing only one outcome to go its way.
Although there was initially cause for concern, with both Bessette and Burney losing their first sets on the second and fourth courts, respectively, both players bounced back to win the second set by matching scores of 7-5 before putting away from their Engineers opponents in the third set.
With Marchalik losing on court one in a tight 6-7, 6-3, 6-2 thriller, the Mammoths departed Cambridge with a 6-3 win, another impressive result on the program’s already impressive season.
While this battle with MIT was occurring, the other half of the Amherst lineup had a much easier task ahead of it, taking on a Conn. College team that boasted a dismal 0-3 mark in conference play heading into the match.
The Mammoths superiority was on full display in doubles actions where the first pairing of Andrew Arnaboldi ’17 and Chris Paridis ’20 put up an 8-2 win, which was then one-upped by an 8-0 rout posted by the second duo of Sam Silver ’17 and Justin Sun ’19.
Although Amherst fell on the third court, the point for the Camels would be the only tally Conn. College notched all evening, with the Mammoths sweeping all six singles courts.
In singles play, Amherst quickly secured the overall win with four players logging comfortable two-set wins. However, both Cameron Raglin ’19 and Oliver Kendall ’19, coincidentally the Amherst pairing that had fallen in doubles action, needed a tiebreaker to seal their wins.
Both sophomores fell in their first set before tying the match in the second set, thus sending the match to the required tiebreaker. Kendall sent his tiebreaker to extra points, finally prevailing 11-9 to secure Amherst’s 8-1 overall victory.
The Mammoths had little time for rest, though, as the team returned home to take on out-of-conference foe Swarthmore on Saturday.
For the first time all weekend, Amherst pulled off the full sweep of the doubles courts with the pairs of Fung/Bessette, Burney/Marchalik and Arnaboldi/Kaplan all managing easy wins, while no Swarthmore pairing won more than four games.
Singles play was similarly lopsided in its results, as each of the five Mammoths players who won did so in an easy two sets.
Highlighted by Marchalik’s impressive 6-0, 6-0 win on court number two, Amherst quickly clinched the overall win as Bessette, Fung, Levitin and Kaplan all made quick work of their Phoenix opponents.
The one loss the Mammoths suffered came on court four, which saw an intense battle between Burney and Swarthmore’s Josh Powell. Although Powell won the first set, Burney fought back in the second to push it to the first-to-10 points tiebreaker, which Powell managed to win 10-4, thus allowing the Phoenix to avoid the ignominy of a 9-0 sweep.
On Tuesday, April 18, the Mammoths faced No. 28 Bates at home. The midweek match was close, but the Amherst men pulled out a 6-3 victory over the Wildcats.
On the number one singles court, Bessette fell to his Bates opponent. Fung, Owens, Levitin, and Kaplan defeated their Wildcat opponents on courts two, three, five and six, respectively. Levitin had the most exciting match on court five, forcing the matchup to four sets and ultimately taking the win. The Mammoth’s only other singles loss came on court four, where Adam Schwartz defeated Burney.
In doubles play, Bessette/Fung and Arnaboldi/Kaplan took victories, while Burney/Marchalik fell in an 8-6 loss to Ordway/Schwartz of Bates.
After the last week of action, the Mammoths now stand at 17-3 overall and boast a 3-1 mark in conference play heading into a busy stretch of games. This Saturday, April 22, Amherst will play yet another doubleheader, this time at home, first taking on Wheaton at 9 a.m. and then challenging Little III rival Wesleyan at 1 p.m.